A special redistricting panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court today released new maps for Minnesota’s legislative and congressional districts. Redistricting is required after the U.S. Census Bureau releases new population counts every 10 years.
It is the responsibility of the Minnesota Legislature to come up with the final maps but has failed to do so in the last half century necessitating the courts to step in.
In the current Senate District 40 which is represented by Sen. Chris Eaton, the seat has attracted Susan Pha and Huldah Momanyi Hiltsley who both announced their candidacies last year. Eaton is not seeking reelection.
The two are the main contenders to replace Eaton in the new redrawn district. Their latest campaign finance filings show the two virtually even in terms of money raised.
Both Hiltsley and Pha will remain in the same Senate district, which after redistricting will now be Senate District 38. Neither responded to Mshale by the time of this writing to state their political intentions after their new maps were released. Other than a new numeric assignment, the redistricting panel appears to have left the old Senate district mostly intact.
“We are not positioned to draw entirely new … districts, as the legislature could choose to do. Rather, start with the existing districts, changing them as necessary to remedy the constitutional defect by applying politically neutral redistricting principles,” the panel wrote as they released the maps.
There had been some expectation that Pha and Hiltsley might end up in different districts but with the redistricting question now settled, the two are expected to shift gears and start getting ready in earnest for Senate district conventions expected in March or April.
House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) in a statement Tuesday seemed to reflect the sentiments of most elected officials and aspirants.
“With the maps now released from the judicial panel, we will begin the process of analyzing the information, which will take some time,” Hortman wrote.
You can view the new redistricting maps at this link.